I’m turning into a virtuoso in the orchestra of waiting—a maestro in the symphony of uncertainty.
My appointment with the consultant is penned in for the 18th, but it makes a couple of lofty assumptions. First, that I’ll have had my grand tour through the PET scan’s tunnel, and second, that the MDT will have convened and dissected the findings like a group of scholars poring over an ancient manuscript.
Just nine days to go, and confidence is less buoyant than a rock.
Yet, in these interludes, these waiting rooms of life, I’ve found solace in creating digital imagery. When I tell people that my left eye has been reduced to a blurry window, they usually nod without fully comprehending the view from my side of the glass. Enter Photoshop, my magician’s wand, allowing me to translate my world into pixels.
With my right eye, the image below shows a landscape as crisp as a newly minted bill, radiant and perfectly focused. Just as you’d expect, really.
For the pedants in the room, I should add a disclaimer: it’s not entirely accurate. The eye’s monocular field of view dances around 150-160 degrees horizontally and 100 degrees vertically. Blend both eyes, and you’re feasting on a 200-220 degree visual banquet. But displaying this panorama on a phone screen would be like trying to fit an elephant into a suitcase.
Here’s a fascinating detour: our vision is a finely-tuned marvel. In the central region called the fovea, we perceive life in high-definition colour. The outskirts of our sight are more attuned to movement and brightness, but they’re a bit fuzzy on details, like an old television that hasn’t been quite tuned into the channel.
Now let’s journey to my left eye, a domain marred by a detached retina and radiation-induced optic neuropathy (RION). A grandiose way of saying it’s been nuked. The result? A vision that’s distorted, encircled by shadows, and hopelessly out of focus. It’s like trying to read through a rain-smeared window. To put it plainly, it’s buggered.
But I’m still ahead of the game with one good eye, a bright patch in my otherwise darkening visual field. The thought of true blindness sends shivers down my spine, and I salute those who navigate a world shrouded in shadows or absolute darkness. For them, every step must be a ballet of uncertainty and courage.
My one good eye keeps me afloat as long as I don’t inadvertently get something in it, forcing me to give it a good rub. That’s good, right? Or is it?
Here’s the catch. The blend of good and bad eye offers a strange composite. While the experts preach that my brain will learn to sideline the bad eye, my eyes seem to defy the scholars, continuing their peculiar duet.
I can navigate the right side like a pro, reading car plates and road signs, but everything to the left turns into a murky swamp of distortion. I’ve become accustomed to being startled by left-sided surprises and must now perform regular ‘blind spot’ checks as if life were a continuous motorbike ride.
And my rebellious pupil adds to the drama. It fails to respond to light properly, staying defiantly open, like a camera overexposed to light. Whether it’s a sunny day or a night drive bombarded by oncoming car headlights, my left eye offers a blinding rendition of reality, forcing me to fumble for sunglasses and abandon driving at night.
The decision to quit nocturnal driving crystallized one dark, rainy night. As Helen drove us through the shadowy lanes, my eyes transformed the journey into a high-speed chase. The trees whizzed by, and her handling of the bends seemed to defy physics. I half-expected to hear rally instructions in my ear, like “Fast left tightens. One hundred, K right, caution over bridge, do not cut!” I leaned over to glimpse the speedo. We had only reached the heady speeds of forty miles per hour.
The illusion peaked when a car, with its headlights glaring, appeared as an oncoming deathtrap. My instincts screamed to grab the wheel and swerve, but reason prevailed. You see, the errant car was harmlessly parked in a layby on our side of the road. Had I acted, we’d have been fishing ourselves out of a river.
I vowed to never drive at night again.